| Read Time: 4 minutes | Drunk Driving Accidents
Hit by a Drunk Driver: What Am I Entitled To

Drunk driving accidents are among the most devastating types of accidents that can occur on Georgia’s roads. Not only do these accidents cause significant physical and emotional harm, but they can also lead to steep financial costs. The damages I am entitled to after a drunk driver hit me vary according to the circumstances of the accident. But If you suffered injuries in an accident caused by a drunk driver in Georgia, you should be compensated for your losses.

Read on to learn more about the legal landscape surrounding drunk driving accidents in Georgia and the types of damages you may be able to receive. If you need assistance pursuing a personal injury claim for damages following a DUI-related accident, please get in touch with the Georgia car accident lawyers at MG Law. 

Types of Damages

Under Georgia law, a drunk driving accident victim can recover damages in a civil lawsuit. “Damages” is a term that refers to the monetary compensation a court awards to reimburse you for the harm and losses you suffered in a drunk driving accident. Georgia law divides damages into two general categories: actual and punitive. In practice, actual damages are the more important because they are ones you are likely to receive.

Actual Damages

When a drunk driver causes harm and you suffer losses, you have the right to pursue compensation for your damages. You might also hear actual damages called compensatory damages. You can further divide these losses into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are easier to calculate because things like bills and receipts usually accompany them. Non-economic damages are more subjective and difficult to quantify because there’s no associated concrete financial loss. 

Economic Damages

Economic damages include the following: 

  • Past medical expenses – the costs of medical treatment that you have already incurred due to the accident;
  • Future medical expenses  – the estimated costs of future medical treatment that you will need due to the accident;
  • Rehabilitation  – the costs of physical therapy or other forms of rehabilitation that you require to recover from your injuries;
  • Past lost income  – the wages or salary that you lost due to your inability to work as a result of the accident;
  • Future lost income –  the estimated wages or salary that you will lose in the future due to your injuries;
  • Loss of earning capacity – the reduction in your ability to earn income in the future due to your injuries;
  • Loss of property use – the inability to use property as a result of the accident;
  • Cost of property replacement or repair – what you spend repairing or replacing damaged or destroyed property; and
  • Rental vehicle expenses – reimbursement for rental car costs while the shop repairs your vehicle.

Your case’s particular facts and circumstances impact the type and amount of economic damages you will receive and your overall settlement for getting hit by a drunk driver.  

Non-Economic Damages 

Non-economic damages might include the following: 

  • Pain and suffering – the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the accident;
  • Loss of enjoyment of life – the inability to enjoy life as a result of the accident;
  • Mental anguish – the emotional suffering, such as anxiety and depression;
  • Emotional distress – the psychological harm you suffered;
  • Disability and impairment – the loss of physical or mental function caused by the accident;
  • Loss of consortium – the damage to a marital relationship;
  • Inconvenience – the disruption to your life;
  • Anxiety and worry – the fear and concern;
  • Grief – the sadness and mourning;
  • Disfigurement – any permanent physical disfigurement the accident caused you;
  • Anger and resentment – the feeling of anger or resentment;
  • Embarrassment or humiliation – the feeling of overwhelming embarrassment or shame after an injury accident; and
  • Despair – feeling of hopelessness and depression caused by the accident.

A Georgia car accident attorney will help you determine the damages you might be entitled to receive and advocate on your behalf in court.

Punitive Damages

In addition to actual damages, drunk driving accident victims might receive punitive damages. Punitive damages punish the drunk driver and deter others from engaging in similar conduct. In Georgia, punitive damages are only available if the driver’s conduct was particularly egregious, such as if they were driving under the influence with a high blood alcohol concentration or if they were driving recklessly. 

While punitive damages can raise the amount of an award you might receive, you should be aware that they are rarely awarded. Georgia law states punitive damages are available only where the defendant’s actions demonstrated “willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or that entire want of care which would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to consequences.” 

Drunk Driving Laws in Georgia

Georgia takes a strong stance against drunk driving. The state’s legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08%, which is the same as the limit in most other states. However, Georgia also has a “per se” law. Drivers can be charged with DUI even if their BAC is below 0.08% if they are shown to be impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Differences Between Civil and Criminal Cases

While the state might charge a drunk driver with a crime for causing an accident, accident victims have the right to file a civil lawsuit. A civil lawsuit aims to recover damages to compensate for the losses incurred due to the accident. It’s a distinct and separate case from any criminal proceedings. 

Contact MG Law Today

The damages I am entitled to after a drunk driver hit me is a topic we hope you never have to consider. But if you’ve been hit by a drunk driver, MG Law is here to help you get an understanding of your options. Our Georgia car accident lawyers can help you recover the maximum compensation for injuries sustained in a drunk driving accident. Our attorneys have years of experience assisting injured victims. With the guidance of our experienced legal team, we will fight tirelessly for you to help you recover the maximum compensation possible. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

Author Photo

Michael Geoffroy’s law practice focuses on auto collisions, premises liability, wrongful death, and catastrophic injury, and he stands up for the cause of justice throughout Georgia and on behalf of his clients every day. He is a leader in both the courtroom and the community, having been recognized numerous times for his involvement in each.